Lenoir County Jail to get new body scanner to curb contraband

LENOIR COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – The Lenoir County Jail will be getting some help in curbing the amount of contraband being snuck in by inmates – a new body scanner.

The Lenoir County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously this week to approve $142,500 to buy the new body scanner. The approval comes weeks after deputies say an inmate died in custody from a drug overdose.

Stephanie Osowski, a 40-year-old inmate at the jail, died in January after deputies said that another woman snuck drugs into the facility that deputies said were hidden in a body cavity when she was arrested.

“From 2015 to 2022, jail inmate deaths in North Carolina more than doubled,” Lenoir County Sheriff Rogers said after the woman’s death. “I believe the opioid crisis contributed significantly to this issue and I firmly believe this will be a pivotal factor in our most recent incident.”

Former inmate Quarla Blackwell, who was in the jail with Osowski, said that once something got into the jail, the holes between the blocks made it accessible to everyone.

“You can pass stuff from block to block,” Blackwell said. “If something gets in the jail then everyone has access to it. those holes in the walls are that big.”

The new scanners are expected to help keep things like illegal drugs out of the jail facility.